Monday, November 26, 2012

If at first you don't succeed

Mercy at work with her students at Chibelo Basic School

I started my gap year in January at Mother Theresa, a teaching project where I taught young children between the ages of 2 and 6.  They had a personal teacher and I was required to do a bit of work which, unfortunately, I felt was not helping much.  This caused me to look for another opportunity to give back at Cheshire Home, where I moved to in February.  This is a place where people with disabilities are taken care of.  Some of them live there and others stay at their various homes.  I taught one Grade 9 and four Grade 7 pupils there, but even they already had teachers and so I felt a bit redundant.  After my two experiences at Mother Theresa and Cheshire Home, I still felt that I was not making as big an impact as I wanted to so I decided to move on to Chibelo Basic school.

I began at Chibelo in March where I started by coaching netball.  It was quite successful and our team was able to compete against two other schools.  In these games, Chibelo lost one game and tied in the other.  Unfortunately, I could not continue coaching netball due to the fact that the netball court was not in good shape (it had only one ring and was not demarcated).  Furthermore, the team had no jerseys and equipment to use, such as netballs.  Because of the lack of resources, I decided to start teaching a group of Grade 9 students and a handful of Grade 8’s at Chibelo.  This experience was quite impressive because most pupils were interested in my extra lessons and were willing to learn.

Over the course of my gap year I faced a few challenges.  One was finding a place to carry out my community service.  I had to move from location to location and, once I found a stable place, they did not have the necessary facilities.  Beyond this, organizing the pupils was the most challenging part of gap year.  This was because most of the pupils lived far from the school and were not motivated to return after lunch for extra tutoring.

Above all, gap year was a good experience because I learned a lot about myself.  I now know some of my weaknesses and strengths.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Restless Development

I attended the Restless Development program from April 4th to July 20th, 2012.  After being taught as peer educators by Restless staff, I and three other people were sent to Mututu community of Chisombo district in Kabwe.  The aims of the program were to bring development in the community as well as to educate in-going school youth.  They were to be taught on such matters as entrepreneurship, sexual and reproductive health, and what steps were to be followed in the event of a civil rights violation. 

Facilitating to youths was very interesting, especially concerning sexual and reproductive health issues.  They were very open to ask and answer questions during sessions.  They understood very well.  When it came to events and workshops, the young people presented very well to others. 

We had meetings with men and women of the community.  We taught them entrepreneurship and financial fitness.  Some groups of people began to improve their ways of living after having been given our ideas. We also worked with community stakeholders such as the Member of Parliament (MP), Headmen, Community Development Fund (CDF) officers, teachers, Chief, counselor, women’s’ club, and clinic staff.  These were important as they helped us identify the needs of the community.  Some of these needs were taken to Parliament by the MP because they needed the government’s attention. We helped at the clinic with the recordings, weighing of under five children, packing of medicine, and giving lessons to pregnant women.

The program was great and I learned to be confident when presenting issues to a large number of people.  Listening to people’s views helped me cooperate and work hand in hand with various people.  At the moment I am working on my community service project.  I am helping Grade 12 students with mathematics and, when they complete their exams, I will cross over to the Grade 11’s.  Next year, I am hoping to go to college to study Environmental Health.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Project Literacy

Sonia teaching students at the Kalikiliki Literacy Project

Completing high school was so exciting.  I couldn’t wait for the day, but it finally came.  Most people, pupils rather, at my school were looking forward to being in society and forget about all the pressure which comes from school, like getting up early and doing all of our assignments.

A lot of my friends were talking about the plans they had for their gap year.  This included finding jobs, doing computer courses, and some talked about going somewhere on vacation.  Well, for me it was a whole different story.  With the help of the Kucetekela Foundation, my two friends Abram and Japhet and I decided to continue the literacy project we started while we were still in school.  This project is based in Kalikiliki compound.  Many thought it was not a good idea, but it’s actually awesome to help out in the community.  At first we had difficulties with accommodation, but thanks a million times to KF and Egmont Trust for paying for rent at the new building where I teach the kids from. 

Being a graduate is both exciting and challenging, so make the right choices for your gap year!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Life After Grade 12

Whilst in secondary and high school, students, more than anything else, have their minds fixed on completing Grade 12.  This goal comes with a lot of fantasies about how awesome their lives will be in society, with all the freedom and no tests or homework to do.  In reality, many of us look back to the high school years and wish that all would be loosely as it was then.  Regarding college and university, depending on getting lucky with a chance of a scholarship comes with a lot of emotions, most of them discouraging.  Although this maybe so, our determination to reach our goals keeps us trying: one after another, sometimes failure after failure. 

However, no experience comes without a lesson.  This lesson is to strive to be the best of oneself, an original and unique version of you.  It is also that when one door closes, another opens.  There is always a fitting place for everyone.  Finally, it is always a struggle.  In fact, it has always been and we should never be discouraged by any of these.  Academic achievement is not always enough.  To get lucky, you sometimes have to go further than academics.  This is my encouragement to all aspiring scholarship recipients.  

Monday, May 14, 2012


Pennious Mumba
"I want to have a bicycle one day." This was one of the lines in the chorus of the song I sang during my childhood. I have wanted to have one of those machines since some ages back. When I heard that KF was going to give each graduate a bike, I started promising people to visit them. Eventually, I got a bike of my own, for this year at least, and I was very excited. I just did not show it for fear that Mark would think I am too excited to go back home cycling. I did not want anyone to burst my bubble. Without much hesitation, I bid Mark and Mrs. Nkowane good bye and dragged my bike from Arcaded Shopping center. As soon as I was on 'cycleable' ground, I got on my bike. I wanted to go everywhere, but had no idea where to start from. Some ten minutes of doubt and slow cycling was all I needed to realize that I was expected back home. Finally, I had a starting point.

The bikes that KF gave us have helped us tremendously with respect to mobility. When I sit on my saddle, it feels like a throne. I can sit there all day until my legs begin to ache.

It isn't all good stories when it comes to the bike. I have had a few sad moments as well. There was a time when I went to Avondale to deliver a friend's certificates that he'd left at my work place. On my way home, I had a tire burst. I could not ride the bike nor drag it all the way home. I had no phone with which I could call my hero, Mark Adams, thus, I left it there and boarded a bus back home. Later that night, mum said she missed the bike. I did not respond; I had no words.

The following morning, I went to work and I was late by more than thirty minutes. I was tired and my shoes were dusty. Had I a bike that day, none of that would have happened. I missed it so much.

I really recommend KF for this decision. The bikes have made our movements a whole lot easier. I can get to my work place some thirty minutes earlier than before I got the bike. I can get to Arcades in less than twenty minutes, provided the traffic is good, and not worry about brushing my shoes before beginning our always-fruitful KF monthly meetings. It has allowed us to tutor the younger KF students without worrying about the distance. I only wonder how I will feel when handing the bike over to KF. Off the record, I doubt I will do it peacefully.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Experience at the African Leadership Academy

Jeffrey Kanyama
The African Leadership Academy is a world of its own. When you are new to the Academy, it’s very weird. There are a lot of things one does not know and it seems hard to know them. As time passes by, one familiarizes with the place and the people itself.

It seems very weird at the beginning staying with people that speak different languages, different religions, beliefs and values. During my stay at the Academy, I have learnt to appreciate other peoples' views and being enlightened about all kinds of religions and beliefs.

My greatest challenge was stress at the Academy. If one does not know to how to handle time management, he or she can think ALA is the worst experience ever. School background plays an important role in a way that it is hard to adapt to a busy place like ALA. The school is aware that most first years are challenged when they come, so they offer lessons on time management and the lessons have been helpful.

ALA is a factory of opportunities that is not biased about which opportunities to offer. Everyone is accommodated in the opportunities. It is the first time I am in a school where they take my interests seriously. For instance, music is respected and given attention at the Academy. I am in the ALA band and we intend to do an Album that will feature all kinds of musicians and including people that play instruments, vocalists, choir members and others.

I have always loved to do sport Gymnastics in particular. The school does not offer Gymnastics but I still do it as a recreational sports. I play volleyball which is totally new to me but I am enjoying it. I also do soccer as a recreational sport on the weekends on the quad with many other people in love with soccer.

Lastly I would describe my experience as challenging, a lot of fun, discovering who I am and what I like.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Gap Year, So Far

Japhet Phiri
I have begun my gap year with a lot of interesting activities. For example, our community service project, which is providing free basic education to children in our community, and offering tuitions to our fellow Kucetekela Foundation students. I have also started a full time job at an internet cafe. As my first full time job I have already learned a great deal about time management, responsibility and professionalism. This job has also either taught me or helped me improve on many skills such as the following:

1. Typing
2. Printing
3. Binding
4. Laminating
5. Faxing
6. Scanning
7. Making cards, invitations and passport-size photos
8. Photocopying
9. Helping troubleshoot computer problems
10. Creating e-mail addresses
11. Burning music, files, video and pictures
12. Formatting and scanning memory cards and flash drives
13. Putting information onto flash drives and recovering lost information
14. Formatting a computer
15. Installing software
16. How to make receipts
17. Handling money has taught importance of honesty and responsibility

This is to mention just a few examples of what I'm learning from this job. These skills will be useful for future jobs and education. I just want to say thank you very much to KF for helping me receive my education and teaching me to have a heart for helping other people. I wish more Blessings and achievements for Kucetekela Foundation.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Our Literacy Project

Abram Chima
There is a compound called Kalikiliki in Lusaka with a high population of youth. Many children do not go to school not because they do not want to, but because they lack finances.

It all started in 2008 when I was in Grade 10. I decided to set up a tutoring project of my own where people do not pay so that many would be able to utilize the service. I taught only on holidays because I was boarding at a private school. First, I would go door to door to recruit as many children as possible and explain my intentions to their parents. I decided to use the outdoor area at my house as the location to teach them. Japhet and Jeffrey then decided to join and this was the starting line.

Students from the Hotchkiss School visited the project while it was in session and I appreciate them for donating books for the students to use as this increased the teaching standard.

After graduating, the challenges that we face when starting the projected appeared once again. Specifically, it was rainy season and we could no longer teach outdoors. We decided to petition Kucetekela Foundation for help and they decided to help us rent a tuition house and purchase books, pens and pencils for the students to use.

Presently, I managed to recruit a huge number of students (approximately sixty five). To accommodate these numbers Sonia and I decided to run double sessions; she would teach a group at the tuition house while I taught another from my home. So far this has allowed us to reach the maximum number of children. We hope to also recruit more volunteers so we can break the students into smaller learning groups. Women in the community have also asked that we run a session they could attend because they would also like to become literate.

All this has been possible because of Mrs. Nkowane, Mark, Mr. Mukena, Mr. Mwila and the President Mr. Oliver Barry. I am looking forward to see this project expand to reach more of my community and eventually more of Zambia.